Relaxing in Port Meadow, near Oxford, in 2010. Port meadow was the site of detailed statistical investigations of the distribution of related species of Ranunculus, discussed in Randomness, Statistics, and Emergence, pages 71-82.


Philip McShane

Philip McShane has spent a lifetime of scholarship investigating the intersections between the natural sciences and the human sciences, focusing on the fields of philosophy, theology, spirituality, methodology, and economics.  He is a prolific scholar and theoretician whose published work ranges from technical works on the foundations of mathematics, probability theory, evolutionary process, methodology, Thomas Aquinas, and zoology to a popular book on spirituality titled Music That Is Soundless: An Introduction to God for the Graduate.  His latest work broadly concerns kataphatic contemplation, physics and eschatology, and physics and the immortality of the soul.

McShane holds graduate degrees in physics, philosophy, and theology.  He did graduate work in relativity theory and quantum mechanics, and then earned his D.Phil in philosophy from Oxford, writing his dissertation on “The Concrete Logic of Discovery of Statistical Science, with Special Reference to Problems of Evolution Theory.”

McShane’s first book, Randomness, Statistics, and Emergence, develops and expands an evolutionary view of biological and historical process called “emergent probability” first articulated by Bernard Lonergan.  This precise and profound view of evolution is grounded in the complementarity of classical and statistical laws in the explanatory sciences.  During his long subsequent career McShane has worked out the implications of that novel and scientific view on the precise nature or structure of what Sir John Templeton once called “the openness of Creativity in the cosmos” in fields as diverse as theology and physics.  McShane is the author or editor of more than 25 books and many scholarly articles.

In addition, McShane is perhaps the leading interpreter of Bernard Lonergan’s magisterial work relating empirical science, philosophy, and theology, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding.  McShane also edited Lonergan’s economic manuscript For a New Political Economy for publication in the Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan, as well as Lonergan’s lectures on existentialism and mathematical logic.  McShane continues to develop and deepen his own elaboration and extension of the method of functional collaboration.  He views functional collaboration as the key to sustained and methodical progress in the human sciences as well as the natural sciences.  It also holds great promise for global progress not only in facilitating a deeper understanding of the cosmos through inter-relating diverse heuristic structures, and not only in promoting human intellectual and spiritual self-understanding, but also in refining and implementing policies leading to increasingly enlightened practices in fields ranging from economics to the humanities to inter-religious dialogue.

M.Sc., Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics. University College, Dublin, 1952-56.
Lic. Phil., St. Stanislaus College, Tullamore, Ireland, 1956-59.
S.T.L., Heythrop College, Oxfordshire, England, 1960-64.
D.Phil., Campion Hall, Oxford University, 1965-68.

Lecturer in Mathematics: University College Dublin, 1959-60.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy: Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology, 1968-73.
Associate Professor of Philosophy (1974-79) and Professor of Philosophy (1980-1994), Mt. St. Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
First Visiting Fellow in Religious Studies, Lonergan College, Concordia University, Montreal 1979-80.